Monsanto chairman and CEO Hugh Grant will leave the company once it is acquired by Bayer AG.
Monsanto CFO Pierre Courduroux, the company’s top tech executive, Chief Technology Officer Robert Fraley, and General Counsel David Snively will also leave the company shortly after the deal closes, Monsanto announced Monday.
Bayer’s bid to buy Creve Coeur-based seed and chemical company Monsanto is on track to win U.S. antitrust approval by the end of this month, and the sale is expected to finalize in the second quarter.
The $62.5 billion takeover, one of a trio of major deals in the agribusiness sector in recent years, would create a company with a share of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market in the fast-consolidating farm supplies market.
A recent proxy statement values Grant’s golden parachute — the amount he could collect if he leaves Monsanto after a takeover — at $32.6 million. That includes $13.6 million in cash severance and nearly $19 million worth of unvested stock and options.
Courduroux’s payout, according to the proxy, would be $8.4 million, with Fraley and Snively set to receive $8.9 million and $6.3 million, respectively.
Grant, who has served as Monsanto’s top executive since 2003, will maintain his position as chairman and CEO until the deal closes. He joined the company 35 years ago as a part-time employee as a college student in Scotland.
“It has been my sincere privilege to serve as Monsanto’s CEO during this period of extraordinary growth and transformation within our business,” Grant said in a statement. “I’m proud of what we’ve delivered and look forward to what the future holds for this organization.”
Fraley and Grant “were both there at ground zero” when it comes to GMOs, said Chris Shaw, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co. “They’ve had a great run.”
The technology has transformed farming around the world. At the same time, it has inspired passionate protests among activists. Skepticism about such techniques remain despite a scientific consensus that supports the safety of eating genetically modified foods. Non-GMO labels on food have become commonplace in grocery stores.
Fraley has been the public face and champion of the science of GMOs. He joined the company as a 27-year-old, and worked on a team that found a way to insert foreign genes into plants. The result was Roundup Ready seeds, which could tolerate glyphosate, an herbicide that Monsanto manufactures under the brand Roundup.
Other members of Monsanto’s executive leadership team are expected to transition to become members of the Crop Science Executive Leadership Team at Bayer, including Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann, who will become head of commercial operations in St. Louis.
Monsanto executives who will remain with the company after the sale finalizes include Chief Information Officer James Swanson, Technology Integration Lead Robert Reiter and Global Supply Chain and Commercial Operations Lead Jesus Madrazo. Departing Monsanto executives include: Chief of Staff and Community Relations Janet Holloway, Chief Human Resources Officer Steven Mizell, Chief Strategy Officer Kerry Preete, and Controller Nicole Ringenberg.
Liam Condon, head of Bayer’s crop science division in Monheim, Germany, will head the combined business.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.